Gulzar could well take the honour of being one of the rare celebrities who has the maximum number of books written on him. In a series of many such books arrives 'In The Company of a Poet'. What makes it different though is that it features acclaimed author Nasreen Munni Kabor 'in conversation with' Gulzar.
An experiment on these lines was undertaken a few months back when Baradwaj Rangan had come up with an elaborate book while being in conversation with Mani Ratnam. That book had primarily turned out to be a blow by blow account of every film that the director had made. The one by Nasreen is different though as she delves into the personal life of the veteran poet while also interspersing it with talks veering towards his professional life.
At the very onset, Nasreen does set the expectations that since a lot has already been read and heard about Gulzar over the years, her endeavour was to bring on those aspects of his life which were hitherto untouched/ unexplored. However – and with all due respect to the veteran multifaceted personality – one wonders if other than some real diehard fans of Gulzar, how many would be indeed inclined to get a further low down on his life and times!
It is understandable when the author does that, considering the fact that she is historian when it comes to Bollywood films and celebrities. In fact she has numerous books to her credit, many of which have made for a mighty exciting read. However for more stuff to be presented on Gulzar, the target audience base only gets diminished, more so due to already available material on the stands.
Hence, even if the idea is to put together this 200 page book in a conversation format, the end result isn't glaringly different since there is as much that can come out of a subject in question. Yes, one can sense a comfort level that gradually develops between Nasreen and Gulzar as they engage on Skype. However after a while, it starts appearing (and something which is indeed a predicament that does come in such conversations) that it is more about the two individuals turning up, close and personals with a reader somehow getting alienated.
If you haven't read any of the books centered on Gulzar yet, this one – though not the best of the lot – could still be your pick!
Price: Rs. 495